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Cisco awards Grey $60m global business

SAN FRANCISCO - Cisco Systems, the computer networking giant, has awarded its estimated $60m-$50m (£41.1m-£34.2m) global advertising account to Grey Worldwide, following a three-way review.

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The account will be handled by darkGrey, Grey's technology unit in San Francisco, which led the pitch in a review that also included TBWA\Chiat\Day in Playa del Rey, California, and JWT & Tonic in San Francisco.

The account had previously been handled by the Interpublic Group of Companies' Hill, Holliday, Connors, Cosmopulos, San Francisco, which had held the account for 10 years. The agency did not take part in the review. At the time, Hill Holliday gave no reason for not taking part in the review process, but did say that the agency was currently undergoing a period of reorganisation and change.

It is understood that as many as 10 agencies were invited to take part in the initial review for the account, which last year was estimated to be worth as much as £80m. The account has shrunk in size following the downturn and the dotcom crash. Cisco slashed its spending and, last year, spent less than £40m in the US with somewhere south of £20m being spent in Europe. The UK account was estimated to be worth around £2m-£4m.

Cisco builds routers, bridges and other computer networking technology, which allows computers to connect to the internet. Its closest rival is fellow US technology firm 3Com.

It has traditionally targeted large corporations and service providers, but is moving towards the small business and consumer arena. It is attempting to take on other high-tech giants by developing new products and services.

The win is another recent success for darkGrey, which has offices in San Francisco and New York. The shop's roster now includes DoubleClick, Unisys, Oracle and BellSouth.

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